Accreditation

Fertcare

Fertcare means a better fertiliser sevice for farmers. Farmers can now look forward to an improved and more professional service from the fertiliser industry with the release of the Fertcare accreditation program, a joint initiative of the Australian Fertiliser Services Association (AFSA) and the Fertiliser Industry Federation of Australia (FIFA). View some of Fertspreads accreditations here.

Background

Fertcare is a national training and accreditation initiative for all fertilizer and soil ameliorant industry businesses and staff. Whether youre involved in importing, manufacturing, storing, handling or distributing fertilizers; dealing with customers in a fertilizer sales capacity; or providing advice and recommendations for fertilizer use Fertcare accreditation will assist you and your customers with practical knowledge and skills.Fertcare is designed to lift the skills and knowledge of all individuals involved in the supply and distribution of fertilizers and to assist in optimising environmental stewardship, occupational health and safety, food safety and agricultural profitability.This world-leading industry initiative will ensure farmers Australia-wide receive consistent quality advice for fertilizer and soil ameliorant handling and use, which will in-turn benefit the industry and the Australian community.

Fertcare Program

The Codes of Practice and Fertcare program cover four areas, which have been developed into modules representing sections of the fertiliser industry. These modules are Transport, Storage, Product Knowledge, and Spreading. The spreading module covers operator/driver accreditation, and the Accu-Spread protocol allows for the accreditation of machines. Depending on which modules are applicable to their business, members will become accredited in the relevant areas.The Accu-Spread protocol allows spreaders to be tested for accuracy and is vital for the efficient spreading of fertiliser and soil ameliorates. The test involves running the spreader over a set of test trays from which the product is collected and weighed. The results are then put through a computer program, which produces a graph that depicts the variation in spread at different spread widths.The graph is used to determine a spread width (bout width) in which the machine can operate with less than 15% variation. This means that spreader operators know the optimum bout width they should be using to give maximum accuracy and efficiency to the customer.The overall aim of the Codes of Practice is to minimise the impact of the fertiliser industry's activities on land, water, and air resources while ensuring a sustainable and profitable future for both the fertiliser industry and agriculture in general.

Benefits

The end users of the services provided by the fertiliser industry need to have a full understanding of Fertcare Accreditation and how they can benefit from them. The major benefits to growers or producers from the Fertcare program include an improved service, better value per dollar (accurate spreading), an ability to satisfy any quality-assurance requirements that the end user may have, and a way of managing such environmental issues as nutrient runoff and offsite impacts. These last points are becoming more important as the producer or supplier is increasingly being asked by consumers, processors, and supermarkets for quality-assurance certification covering the whole chain of production; and environmental issues, such as nutrient runoff, are under the spotlight.Farmers wanting an improved service from the fertiliser industry should be on the lookout for Fertcare accredited machines, contractors, transport operators, and members.

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